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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

APR+ Design Certification Announced

While discussion has been focused on the announcement that the ESBWR was approaching design certification in the United States, another, completely different reactor plant type has actually achieved its design certification without any news coverage of note whatsoever.

On August 14, 2014, the APR+ nuclear plant design received official type certification in South Korea after a rigorous seven year development process.  The design is a two loop PWR rated 1500 MWe, with a designed plant life of 60 years and a core damage frequency an entire order of magnitude lower than that calculated for the APR1400 design that it supplants.  As initially designed the plant has a station blackout coping time with no action of eight hours; severe accident management design for the plant is intended to guarantee in-vessel retention of the core in any accident.  Four safety injection trains as well as passive devices combine with a semi-modular construction design, giving South Korea a world class nuclear plant in the upper range of nuclear plant outputs with an intended eventual construction time of 36 months.  Increased safety and reduced unplanned shutdowns are said to be hallmarks of the new APR+ design as compared with the previous designs.

APR+ also has a number of design concessions to load following on a daily schedule; the initial concept is for load change to be automatically controlled within a band of 50% to 100% power with no operator action at all.

The APR+ is a developed version of the still fairly recent APR1400.  The APR1400 type's construction began in 2011 and has ten units under construction presently in both South Korea (six units total) and the UAE (four units.)  It is expected that orders for new commercial nuclear units in the future in South Korea will be for APR+ units, replacing the APR1400. 

News of the official design certification of the APR+ by South Korea's Nuclear Safety and Security Commission is only the most recent coup for this nation's nuclear enterprise; of much note just two years ago, that is on July 4th, 2012 was the announcement that the SMART SMR had received the world's first design certification for any iPWR SMR design.  It's clear that KHNP and the entire South Korean nuclear establishment are pushing ahead aggressively in development (and marketing) and that, for the moment, that nation appears to have the lead in certifying new designs.  What now awaits is the first actual order for either type.

(Illustration courtesy Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power.)

3:30 PM Eastern 9/2/2014

1 comment:

  1. The steady growth on nuclear plants arouses concern.
    The logic is clear, that as the design is better understood and optimized, it can be run closer to full capacity.
    The offsets, that bigger means fewer, less flexible, less learning curve, more remote, these are not factored in.
    Imho, this is part of the reason why nuclear is losing the war for public support, it is too remote and rare to be seen as an essential partner. Is there an alternative approach possible?